Mini-Baccarat was developed as a floor table game in casinos to accommodate the average player. Along with that however, optional side bets were also introduced to increase the house edge. Before I detail them, I'll explain how the game is played is played.
The objective of this table game is the same as original Baccarat where player must come as close to the number nine as possible. Aces count as one, two's through nines are face value, and Tens through Kings count as zero. Regardless of the number of players, the dealer only deals two hands from a 6 or 8 deck shoe. Prior to the deal, players must place one bet on either the Bank hand, player hand, or tie.
When a hand is totaled, it cannot exceed nine. If the two cards total more than nine, the first digit (number one) is dropped. The second digit becomes the total. A few examples are:
7, 8 = 15 (drop 1) total = 5 4, 3 = 7 (two cards, face value) 10, 6 = 6 (10 is zero, 6 is face value) K, 9 = 9 (King is zero, 9 is called a natural)
Baccarat requires no skill on the part of the player. All s/he needs to do is decide where to place one bet before the deal. The dealer examines both hands and then decides if a third and final card should be drawn for either hand. The determination is made according to a fixed set of game rules.
A bet on the player's hand returns even money if won. A bet on the Banker's hand returns even money minus a 5% commission to the house if won. A tie bet returns 8 to 1 if won, otherwise it is a push when not bet. The reason for the 5% commission on the Bank's win is that the drawing advantage is with the Bank, according the following game rules:
The player position always draws on a 0, 1, and 2,3,4,5 unless the Banker has a natural 8 or 9. The player always stands on 6, 7, 8, and 9. When a player has a natural 8 or 9, the game is over.
The Banker position always draws on a 0, 1, 2 unless the player has a natural 8 or 9.
The Banker always stands on 7, 8, and 9. When a Banker has a natural 8 or 9, the game is over.
Baccarat Side Bets
There are a number of optional side bets available at Mini Baccarat tables everywhere and like any side wager, all of them exist to increase the house edge. Nevertheless, Players are attracted to them because of the hefty winning payouts. Here are some of the popular ones:
The bettor may wager on the Player or Banker side that the hand will win by a natural or by 4 or more points. The bet must be made before the hand is dealt. The greater the number that the hand wins by, the greater the payout:
Win By: Payout
9 – 30/1 8 – 10/1 7 – 6/1 6 – 4/1 5 – 2/1 4 – 1/1 Natural – 1/1
The house edge for this bet is 2.7%.
The payouts are the same for a bet on the Bank side however the house edge jumps to 9.7% if chosen.
This is a side wager that the total number of combined cards to complete the Player and Banker hand will be 4, 5, or 6.
# Cards Payout House Edge 4 – 1.5/1 – 5.3% 5 – 2/1 – 8.9% 6 – 2/1 – 4.7%
3 Card Six
This is a bet for a winning 3 card six. If player and banker have a 3 card six, the wager pays 100/1. If there is only one three card six, the bettor wins 8/1. The house edge is a whopping 13.4%!
Wagering that the player or banker hand will have a king and queen on the first two cards drawn, called the Royal Match. Not to be confused with the option of the same name found in the game of Blackjack. The bet pays 75/1 for a suited king & queen, and 30/1 for an unsuited royal match. The house edge has been calculated at about 2.1%.
Dragon 7 is an optional side bet found in EZ Baccarat, which is played the same as regular Mini-Baccarat except the game has a commission free bank hand with one exception: A winning bank hand with a three-card total of seven will push instead of paying even money. A player may wager on that outcome for which the winning payout is 40/1. The house edge is about 7.6%.
The Panda 8 side bet is sometimes found in EZ Baccarat games. The wager pays 25/1 if a player hand has a three card total of eight. As for the house edge, it's 10.2%.
The Tie Bet is not considered a side wager, as it is included on all Baccarat table games. However, due to the atrocious house edge of 14%, it should be avoided at all times.
Remember that Baccarat, next to Blackjack, has a very low house edge of 1.2% when the Play bet is chosen, and a lower edge of 1.06% when betting the Bank when you avoid the side bets.